47 Cal.4th 911, S074624, People v. Martinez

Docket Nº:S074624
Citation:47 Cal.4th 911, __ Cal.Rptr.3d__, __P.3d__
Opinion Judge:MORENO, J.
Party Name:THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. TOMMY JESSE MARTINEZ, Defendant and Appellant
Attorney:Christopher Johns, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant. Bill Lockyer and Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorneys General, Robert R. Anderson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Pamela C. Hamanaka, Assistant Attorney General, John R. Gorey and Joseph P. Lee, Deputy Attorneys...
Judge Panel:George, C. J., Kennard, J., Baxter, J., Werdegar, J., Chin, J., and Corrigan, J., concurred.
Case Date:January 14, 2010
Court:Supreme Court of California
 
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Page 911

47 Cal.4th 911

__ Cal.Rptr.3d__, __P.3d__

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,

v.

TOMMY JESSE MARTINEZ, Defendant and Appellant

S074624

Supreme Court of California

January 14, 2010

Superior Court Santa Barbara County Nos. SM 103236; SM 101161 Rodney S. Melville, Judge

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COUNSEL

Christopher Johns, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant.

Bill Lockyer and Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorneys General, Robert R. Anderson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Pamela C. Hamanaka, Assistant Attorney General, John R. Gorey and Joseph P. Lee, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

MORENO, J.

On June 3, 1998, a jury found defendant Tommy Jesse Martinez guilty of the rape, robbery, and murder of Sophia Castro Torres. (Pen. Code, §§ 261, subd. (a)(2), 211, 187.)1 The jury found true the special circumstance allegations of rape and robbery and further determined that defendant personally used a knife, a deadly and dangerous weapon, in committing the crimes against Sophia. (§§ 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(A), (C), 12022, subd. (b).)

The jury also found defendant guilty of assaulting three other women. The jury found defendant guilty of assaulting Maria M. with a deadly weapon, assaulting her with the intent to commit rape, kidnapping her for robbery, and kidnapping her with the intent to commit rape and oral copulation. (§§ 245, subd. (a)(1), 220, 261, subd. (a)(2), 209, subd. (b), former § 208, subd. (d).) The jury further determined that defendant personally used a knife, a deadly and dangerous weapon, in committing the crimes against Maria. (§ 12022, subd. (b).) The jury found defendant guilty of assaulting Laura Z. with the intent to commit rape and that he used a knife, a deadly and dangerous weapon. (§§ 220, 261, subd. (a)(2), 12022, subd. (b).) The jury found defendant guilty of assaulting Sabrina P. with a deadly weapon, assaulting her with the intent to commit rape, and attempting to kidnap her with the intent to commit rape and also found that defendant used a knife, a deadly and dangerous weapon in the offenses. (§§ 245, subd. (a)(1), 220, 261, subd. (a)(2), 664; former § 208, subd. (d); § 12022, subd. (b).) The jury found that defendant was not guilty of attempting to kidnap Sabrina for robbery, but was guilty of the lesser offense of attempting to kidnap her. (§§ 664, 207, 664, 209, subd. (b).)

After a penalty trial, on June 23, 1998, the jury returned a verdict of death. The court denied a motion for a new trial and the automatic application to

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modify the verdict (§ 190.4, subd. (e)) and sentenced defendant to death. This appeal is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).)

We affirm the judgment.

I. FACTS

A. Guilt Phase

1. The Prosecution’s Case

(a) The crimes against Sophia Torres

Sophia Torres was born in Mexico in 1961 and moved to Arizona when she was 23 years old. Around 1994, because she had broken up with her longtime boyfriend, Sophia moved to Santa Maria, California, where three of her sisters lived. Approximately eight months later, she moved back to Arizona and learned that her ex-boyfriend had been shot and killed. She returned to Santa Maria in October 1995.

Sophia, who had been a hard-working and outgoing person, was deeply affected by her boyfriend’s death and became withdrawn and reclusive. She did not have any boyfriends and was described as a loner who did not use alcohol or drugs. She worked odd jobs and was homeless, living mostly in a shelter, but she remained a very neat and clean person.

At one point, she briefly worked as a bartender at the Tres Amigos bar in the La Joya Plaza, but was let go after two weekends because she was “very meek” and “too inhibited" to be a bartender. While she worked there, she never drank, and, after she was let go, she never came back to the bar as a patron or to socialize.

In the week before her murder, Sophia stayed with a friend of her sisters’, Ofelia Francisco. According to Mrs. Francisco, Sophia kept to herself. Sophia’s routine was to leave the house around 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. and return around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m.

On the morning of November 15, 1996, Sophia left Mrs. Francisco’s home at around 9:00 a.m. She was wearing a long blue jacket over a long black dress and was carrying her purse. As she usually did, Sophia stopped at the local Salvation Army where she sat alone and had lunch.

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At some time around 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. that night, 2 Sophia was assaulted and killed in a baseball field in Oakley Park, a few blocks south of Mrs. Francisco’s home.

At 11:07 p.m., at a pay phone in La Joya Plaza, several blocks south of the park, an anonymous male dialed 911 and reported that “a lady” was being attacked in Oakley Park with baseball bats by “two Black girls” who were “kinda heavy set.” When the 911 dispatcher realized the location of the pay phone, she asked the caller why he had called so far away from the scene, but the caller hung up. The call was recorded.

At 11:08 or 11:09 p.m., Santa Maria Police Officer Louis Murillo arrived at Oakley Park in response to the 911 call. Due to the poor lighting conditions, Officer Murillo drove into the park to investigate. Using his patrol car’s lights, he noticed a female lying on the ground near the snackbar. There was fresh blood all around her and he called for an ambulance. He checked for vital signs and did not find any.

Because the grass was wet, fresh bicycle tracks were visible on the grass between the snackbar and a large tree, leading to the street.

Based upon the location of personal items and blood spatter marks found at various places at the park, it appeared Sophia was attacked multiple times as she tried to flee her attacker. At the bleachers on the third base side of the baseball diamond, police found a fingernail file, toothbrush, and pencil that may have come from Sophia’s purse.3 On the bleachers, there were also long strands of black hair that could have belonged to Sophia. Behind home plate, in the walkway between the backstop and the snackbar, there was blood spatter on the wall of the snackbar. Blood spatter in the bleachers on the first base side of the diamond indicated that Sophia had run into those bleachers. It appeared that Sophia had run under the bleachers and stopped at one end, as the blood spatter there was consistent with someone standing still and bleeding downward. The area where Sophia’s body was found was a section of concrete near the snackbar. She was lying on her back, with her long dress hiked up above her knees. There was a large amount of blood on the ground around the victim and a larger pool of blood a few feet away, indicating that she had lain in that spot for some time and bled. There was a palm print next to this pool of blood.

Sophia’s body had multiple bruises with crush-type lacerations consistent with having been hit with a smooth, blunt object like a baseball bat. The ring and

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little fingers of Sophia’s right hand were swollen and bruised, as if her hand had been hit while fending off her attacker. She had a large bruise to her left breast area and over her left hip. The left side of her head was swollen and bruised, as if hit repeatedly by a blunt object. Her nose was broken, with bone fragments protruding through her skin, and the bridge of her nose was indented and had sunk inward due to a large crush-type laceration. Her right ear was bruised, with a small, crush-type laceration. Although her skull was otherwise intact, her brain had swollen to the point of flattening out in some areas, as opposed to having a normal wrinkled appearance. The coroner concluded that Sophia died due to blunt force trauma to the left side of her head, which caused cerebral contusions with acute subarachnoid and subdural hemorrhage.

On the right of Sophia’s face, extending from the hairline of the temple to her cheek, was a very deep and sharp-cut laceration measuring three and a half or four inches long, three-quarters of an inch wide, and almost as deep. The wound was consistent with having been inflicted by a knife. She also had relatively minor cuts to her left hand and right elbow and had abrasions to both knees.

Sophia had no bruising, no tearing, and no trauma to her vagina, but the pathologist, Dr. Robert Failing, believed that the lack of such injuries did not rule out the possibility of sexual assault. Sperm was detected on Sophia’s dress and on vaginal swabs taken from her. Subsequent DNA analysis of the vaginal swabs identified a match with a blood sample obtained from defendant. The DNA profile recovered from the vaginal swab occurs at an expected frequency of one in 2.2 million persons, or one in 3.75 million Hispanics.

At the time of her death, Sophia did not have any alcohol or drugs in her system.

(b) The other assaults

(1) The assault on Maria M.

Two weeks before Sophia’s murder, on November 3, 1996, Maria M., then aged 16, was walking to work at a nearby discount mall in La Joya Plaza, taking her usual shortcut through an alleyway. As she exited the alley and entered a pedestrian walkway into the mall property, a man she later identified as defendant grabbed her from behind with one arm and held a knife blade against her neck with his other arm. Maria tried to pull away, but defendant held her tighter, grabbed her by her hair, and pulled her about 180 feet back into the alleyway. Defendant untied her shirt and tried to take off her belt and unzip her...

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